Key Recommendation: The DOE should strongly encourage the development of highly efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for general-purpose lighting and other applications.
For example, the DOE could move aggressively toward its 21st-century lightbulb, with greater than 150 lm/W, a color rendering index greater than 90, and a color temperature of approximately 2800 K. Since one major company has already published results meeting the technical requirements for the 21st-century lightbulb, the DOE should consider releasing this competition in 2012. Major progress is being made in solid-state lighting, which has such advantages over current lighting alternatives as less wasted heat generation and fast turn-on time. The United States needs to exploit the current expertise in solid-state lighting to bring this technology to maturity and to market.
Chapter 6: Health and Medicine
Chapter 6 discusses the application of optics and photonics to health and medicine. Photonics plays a major role in many health-related areas. Medical imaging, which is widely used and is still a rapidly developing area, is key to many health-related needs, both for gaining understanding of the status of a patient and for guiding and implementing corrective procedures. Lasers are used in various corrective procedures in addition to those for the eye. There is still great potential for further application of optics and photonics in medicine.
Key Recommendation: The U.S. optics and photonics community should develop new instrumentation to allow simultaneous measurement of all immune-system cell types in a blood sample. Many health issues could be addressed by an improved knowledge of the immune system, which represents one of the major areas requiring better understanding.
Key Recommendation: New approaches, or dramatic improvements in existing methods and instruments, should be developed by industry and academia to increase the rate at which new pharmaceuticals can be safely developed and proved effective. Developing these approaches will require investment by the government and the private sector in optical methods integrated with high-speed sample-handling robotics, methods for evaluating the molecular makeup of microscopic samples, and increased sensitivity and specificity for detecting antibodies, enzymes, and important cell phenotypes.